WASHINGTON — U.S. space agency NASA on Wednesday sent a congratulatory message to its Indian counterpart ISRO for its successful maiden Mars mission, saying it’s a ” significant milestone” for the world’s second most populous country.
“We congratulate the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for its successful arrival at Mars with the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM),” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
“It was an impressive engineering feat, and we welcome India to the family of nations studying another facet of the Red Planet.”
Bolden said he hopes the MOM could add to the knowledge the world is gathering with the other spacecraft at Mars.
“All space exploration expands the frontiers of scientific knowledge and improves life for everyone on Earth. We commend this significant milestone for India,” he added.
India successfully put the MOM in Mars’ orbit early Wednesday, becoming the first Asian country to reach the Red Planet.
The arrival came two days after NASA’s own spacecraft, dubbed Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), entered the planet’s orbit.
The two joined five spacecraft already operating on Mars surface or in orbit, including three orbiters — Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Express — and two rovers on the surface, Curiosity and Opportunity.